Existential Crisis: a moment at which an individual questions the very foundations of their life: whether this life has any meaning, purpose, or value. (via wikipedia)
I am struggling.
Struggling is an understatement, actually.
No, this isn’t about my mental health or a mental crisis. I’m doing okay on that front. Ish.
Right now, I’m struggling because I absolutely have zero direction for where I’m going, or what I’m doing. Or what I want to do. Or what is going to happen when I graduate in less than 100 days. Where am I going to live (NOT at home again lord no)? Where am I going to work? What am I going to do? These questions, they live in my brain 24/7.
Right now, I sit in classes 4 days a week that I kind of hate. That’s a first in my 4 1/2 years of college, if I’m being honest. I’ve hated classes before (ie science and math and PE, oh my) but never in my life have I found myself hating every single class.
And it’s not because of the classes themselves: mostly, I enjoy the content of the classes (with the exception of Lit theory, sorry Dr. C but UGH), I enjoy the discussion. I love being back with my English major friends and having grownup conversations with friends that have similar passions and ideals.
But I sit there every day and know that more than likely, I’m never going to use the things I’m learning post-grad. I feel like I’m wasting my time (and my money) and am just so upset and annoyed and scared by that fact.
I never had any intentions on doing anything but teach with an English degree. The only thing I ever wanted to do with English was teach it. I’m getting a useless degree for me (not in general)– because there’s nothing in the world of literature I intend on doing as a career. None. Nada. I don’t even know what that would entail, minus going to graduate school. I have friends that are getting the same degree– but they have plans with it. Grad school, law school, vet school, teaching, other English-y jobs… they know what they want to do with a plain ol’ English degree. I don’t. Because the only job I wanted in the realm of literature? Teaching. How quickly that changed. As much as I don’t regret leaving teaching when I did, the aftermath and picking up the pieces is a nightmare.
I never wanted to go into higher ed/grad school for English. At all. Ever. The thought of it scares me and makes me nervous. I am awful at analyzing literature (and have the shortest attention span known to man) and as much as I love writing, I know I would get massacred if studying composition or rhetoric at the graduate level. I just don’t have the ability or tenacity to succeed at that higher level of education on this subject. And truthfully, I don’t know if I want to. As much as I love school and learning, more years of studying literature in-depth till I kill it (and my brain cells) horrifies me. I’d be afraid I’d hate reading or writing after spending years analyzing it.
So now, everyday I go to classes for a degree I don’t want. I go to every single class with a headache. Everyday I am mentally unprepared to do anything but just be there. I’m nervous and anxious before every class, and am counting down the minutes till I can high tail it out and breathe a deep sigh of relief. I sit in class and wonder where I’m going to use the things I’m hearing, how what I’m learning is going to help me in any shape or form (besides being a decent intellectual being).
It’s not senioritis (at least to an extent) or adjusting back to being in school after a semester off–I’m doing fine keeping up with readings and assignments for the most part. I’ve got ideas for my research paper and lit theory project already stirring. I’m doing what I need to do for classes on time. I’m going through the motions.
I just have no desire to do things anymore. Because now I have no end goal.
I have no intentions of using the degree I’m earning when I walk in May. And I hate it. I. hate. it.
The worst part is that I have no utter clue what I want to do in lieu of what I had planned. I’m researching, praying, weighing out ideas in between classes… and still, I am just clueless.
I get asked, almost daily, “so, what are you going to do? what’s next?”
I really, really wish I had an answer. I want to so badly.
I just don’t know.
Is this what an existential crisis in a 23 year old feels like? I really want to have some purpose, some end goal. Some idea of meaning in my life and my future. And right now, I’ve got nothing. Instead, I walk around trying to find some meaning in what I’m doing right now (besides the fact that being back at Lipscomb is the biggest blessing to me and my sanity ever) and worry about graduation getting closer each and every day. Looking up job ideas and graduate school ideas just to see if anything sparks my curiosity.
It’s not even that I want to know– I need to know something. A next step, at least. Not necessarily what I want to do for the rest of my life, but something I can do in my right-now life. But at the same time, figure out what I really want to do. I’ve seen so many people (like my mom) just do jobs endlessly because they needed them for financial sake, instead of doing what they are passionate about. And I don’t want to end up like that… I just don’t know what I’m passionate about anymore.
And as much as I hate this feeling, I can’t help but be jealous of the friends that have their shit together. Because I was always the one that had it all together. I had a plan, and it was coming along quite nicely. And now I see friends that have everything together, grad school plans in full swing, getting married or having babies or moving to pursue jobs and I just can’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy about it– something I’ve rarely ever felt, something I’m really not proud of feeling. But it’s there. Not because of the things they’re doing– I don’t want marriage or babies anytime soon, or anything like that. But jealous of the fact that they have concrete plans. They know what’s next, at least. They know what they’re doing next, where they’re going, how they’re accomplishing their dreams.
I don’t even have dreams of what I want to do next. I don’t have a purpose for anything coming up in my life– no utter clue what I want to do or how I could do it.
As happy and thrilled that I am for my friends that have some things put together in their lives– and I am!— I can’t help but wish I had it together with them.
Instead, I’m sitting here, completely clueless. About everything.
I was the one with direction, the one with the plan, my entire life. I was so freaking planned out, sold out on what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. And then, nothing.
And it’s the most miserable place to be.
I wish I had answers. I wish I had plans. I wish I had a reason as to why this happened this way (other than student teaching proving to me that teaching was a living hell).
I just don’t want to feel so lost anymore.
** a note… i know god has a plan, and a future for me, everything’s going to work out, and every other Biblical platitude you usually think of in this type of situation. I know. Those are all great things, but they’re not right now things helping me. I’m praying and trying to figure things out best I can in that respect. I just needed a minute to write what has been rolling around in my head the past few weeks. I needed a pity party. I plan to suck it up and trudge through the next few months, liking it or not. I’ll make it, liking it or not. Thanks for reading. 🙂